Pishgam International Agency (Immigration, Student Visas, Recruitment)

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Student Visas (Tier 4)

Tier 4 is part of our points-based system for immigration. The Tier 4 (General) category is for adult students who want to come to or remain in the UK for post-16 education.

How are the points calculated?

Points are awarded for having a valid CAS issued by a licensed sponsor which is worth 30 points. In addition 10 points are given for fulfilling the Maintenance (Funds) requirement.  Entry Clearance Officers will only award points where you have indicated that you wish to claim them, and for which you have supplied the required supporting evidence.

Claiming Points for a CAS

Applicants can claim 30 points for a CAS provided:

  • The CAS meets all the requirements of the Immigration Rules; and
  • All the required specified documents have been included with the application.

(GENERAL) STUDENT

Courses for which a CAS may be issued

Full-time study in the United Kingdom
A CAS should only be issued for full-time study in the United Kingdom. To be considered a full-time student, an applicant must be undertaking either:

  • A full-time United Kingdom degree level course or above at a Higher Education Institution; or
  • An overseas higher education course which is recognised as being equivalent to a United Kingdom higher education qualification at an overseas higher education institution; or
  • A course of study below United Kingdom degree level that involves a minimum of 15 hours a week organised daytime study (0800 hours to 1800 hours, Monday to Friday).

Applicants who have a Highly Trusted Sponsor

If you have a Highly Trusted Sponsor you can get a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies for courses that lead to an approved qualification and are:

  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, on the National Database of Accredited Qualifications at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 3 or above;
  • In Scotland, accredited at Level 6 or above in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) by the Scottish Qualifications Authority;
  • In addition, if you have a Highly Trusted Sponsor you can study a course which includes a work placement.  Work placements must be an assessed part of the course and must not exceed 50 per cent of the length of the course in the UK.

Courses for which a CAS may be issued - applicants with a sponsor that has a standard licence and is rated either A (Trusted) or B rated
If you have a sponsor that has a standard licence (A or B rated) you can get a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies for courses that lead to an approved qualification and are:

  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, on the National Database of Accredited Qualifications at the National Qualifications Framework, (NQF) level 4 or above;
  • In Scotland, accredited at Level 7 or above in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

You cannot study a course which contains a work placement if you do not have a Highly Trusted Sponsor.

Higher Education courses at Overseas Institutions – All students (with or without a Highly Trusted Sponsor)

  • If you are enrolled on a higher education course at an overseas higher education institution, you can do a short-term study programme in the United Kingdom as part of your qualification.  This is provided the qualification is validated as the same level or above as a United Kingdom degree by UK NARIC.  You can find contact details for UK NARIC on their website at: www.naric.org.uk

English language courses - All students (with or without a Highly Trusted Sponsor)

  • You can come to the United Kingdom to study an English language course.  The minimum level of study is set at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Level B2.
  • If you are an Overseas Government Sponsored student under Tier 4 General, you can study an English language course at any level.

If you are applying to study an English language course in the United Kingdom using a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies assigned on or after 3 March 2010, and you are not from a majority English-speaking country, you will need to be competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B1. It is your Tier 4 sponsor’s responsibility to make this assessment and the Tier 4 sponsor must decide how best to do this.  If you are sponsored by your Home Government you can study English at any level.

Postgraduate doctors and dentists - All students
You are allowed to do a recognised Foundation Programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist in the United Kingdom in the (General) Student category provided you meet all the requirements for the category.

Additional requirements you must meet are as follows:

You must have successfully completed a recognised United Kingdom degree in medicine or dentistry from:

  • An approved education provider who has a licence to bring in students;
  • A United Kingdom publicly funded institution of further or higher education; or
  • An institution on the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills list of recognised bodies or listed bodies list, which keeps satisfactory records of enrolment and attendance.

You must have been given permission to stay in the United Kingdom as a student under the Immigration Rules in place before 31 March 2008 or as a (General) Student.  This permission must have covered your final academic year and at least one other academic year of your studies leading to the above degree.

Work placements
You are allowed to do a work placement if you are:

  • A Tier 4 (General) student studying a course of degree level study or above, or
  • A Tier 4 (General) student studying a foundation degree course, or
  • A Tier 4 (General) student studying a course with a Highly Trusted Sponsor, or
  • A Tier 4 (Child) student who is 16 years old or over.

An applicant will be allowed to do a work placement as part of his/her course, as long as the work placement is no more than 50% of the length of the course unless the student is doing a course where there is a legal (statutory) requirement for it to contain a specific period of work placement.  For example, it will be acceptable if the course is five years long and the first three years of the course involve full-time study, with the last two years in a work placement.

If a CAS has been issued for a course which involves a work placement, your approved education provider will remain responsible for you throughout the period of the work placement and must continue to comply with all their sponsor duties throughout this time.

Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers
A Students’ Union sabbatical post is a full-time, salaried, elected executive union position.  This post may be taken up during a course of study or in the academic year immediately after graduation.  Students are allowed to take up such a post while in the United Kingdom under the Tier 4 (General) Student category.  If this occurs while the student has leave to remain as a Tier 4 (General) Student, the sponsor will need to notify UKBA of the change in the student’s circumstances.  If the student wants to take up such a post at the end of his/her course and has no more leave as a Tier 4 (General) Student, he/she will have to apply again with a new CAS from the licensed sponsor detailing the post.  The term of office is normally one academic year and leave to remain in the Tier 4 (General) Student category may be granted to cover this period. If the student is re-elected after one year, he/she will have to re-apply with a new CAS from the licensed sponsor detailing the post.

The requirement that a work placement be no more than 50% of a student’s overall course in the United Kingdom does not include any period that a student is in post as a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer.

Note: Whilst the sponsor is not exempt from their reporting duties, the levels of contact between a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer and their sponsor is likely to be different owing to the nature of the Sabbatical Officer’s work.

A student may hold the position of Sabbatical Officer for a maximum of two years. Employment that is additional to Sabbatical Officer duties is restricted to part-time work during term-time (no more than 20 hours a week) and full-time work during vacations, if the officer is not working full-time for the Students’ Union in the vacations.

English language assessment
If you are applying to study in the United Kingdom, using a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies assigned on or after 12 August 2010 and you are coming to study a course that is below NQF Level 6 (except for students on Foundation Degrees) your Tier 4 sponsor must ensure that you are competent in English language at a minimum of CEFR level B1 in one of the following ways:

  • You are from a majority English-speaking country; or
  • You have passed an English language test from the list of approved tests for Tier 4 that  is still within its validity date, and has achieved at least CEFR level B1 in all four components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) or,
  • You have successfully completed a course as a Tier 4 (Child) student (or under the student  rules that were in force before 31 March 2009, where you were granted permission stay whilst you were under 18 years old) which was:
    • at least six months in length; and
    • ended within two years of the date the sponsor assigned the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies.

Further details, including the list of majority English language speaking countries and a list of the approved English language tests for Tier 4 is available in the Tier 4 guidance. If you take an approved English language test you must inform your Sponsor of the result and include confirmation of the results with your visa application.

(CHILD) STUDENT

Tier 4 (Child) Student sponsors may only issue CAS for courses that are:

  • taught in line with  the National Curriculum; or
  • taught in line with the National Qualification Framework (NQF); or
  • accepted as being the same academic level as the National Curriculum or the National Qualification Framework by Ofsted (England), the Education and Training Inspectorate (Northern Ireland), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (Scotland) or Estyn (Wales); or
  • taught in line with existing (prevailing) independent school education inspection standards.

Claiming Points for Maintenance (Funds)

One of the requirements of Tier 4 is that an applicant coming to the United Kingdom must be able to support himself/herself for the entire duration of his/her stay in the United Kingdom without use of public funds.  An applicant who is unable to do so could face financial hardship because he/she will not have access to most state benefits.

You can demonstrate that you have the required maintenance either by providing evidence of official financial sponsorship or Government sponsorship, or that you have cash in a bank account or loan facilities.  A combination of sponsorship and own funds is also acceptable.

(GENERAL) STUDENT AND (CHILD) STUDENT AGED 16 OR 17 YEARS LIVING INDEPENDENTLY

To meet the maintenance requirement (without sponsorship) you must be able to show you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and to support yourself for up to a maximum of 9 months.  You must provide evidence of any fees paid and then show that you have funds for the difference. The British Council estimates you will need a minimum of £800 per month, for basic living costs in the Inner London Boroughs (see below), and a minimum of £600 per month for living costs elsewhere. The funds requirement, therefore, depends on the length of the course and location of study.

The address given in your CAS will be used as the main study site, to assess whether the majority of your study time will be spent in or out of the Inner London Boroughs (see below) (that is, more than 50% of your study time).

Initial applications: On a course of 9 months or less you  will need to show evidence of the full tuition fees plus £800 per month for study based in the Inner London Boroughs (see below), and £600 per month for study elsewhere.  Part months will be rounded up to the next month.  On a course of more than 9 months you will need to show the first year of tuition fees plus 9 months of maintenance at the rates given above.  This would mean £7200 for studying in the Inner London Boroughs (see below) and £5400 for studying elsewhere.

Extension applications: On a course of 9 months or less you will need to show evidence of the full tuition fees plus £800 per month for study based in the Inner London Boroughs (see below), and £600 per month for study elsewhere (up to a maximum of 2 months).  Part months will be rounded up to the next month.  On a course of more than 9 months you will need to show the first year of tuition fees plus 2 months of maintenance at the rates given above.  This would mean £1600 for studying in the Inner London Boroughs (see below) and £1200 for studying elsewhere.  You cannot apply for the lower amount of living costs if you finished your course more than 4 months ago or the course you finished was less than 6 months’ duration.

Additional sums will be required for accompanying dependants.

You can use the UKBA's online points calculator to find out how many points you score and whether or meet the minimum points requirement.

 

(Source: UKBA)

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